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New Scientific Evidence Emerges In Anthrax Case

kdawson posted more than 6 years ago | from the out-of-sequence dept.

Biotech 216

sciencehabit writes "A Science Magazine investigation uses clues from a key document unveiled last week to reconstruct the trail that led the FBI to Bruce Ivins. Among the revelations: Anthrax fingerprinting was not critical to the investigation, as many reports have suggested. Rather, brute-force genetic sequencing, with the help of the J. Craig Venter Institute, helped crack the case. New potential motivations by Ivins are also revealed."

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First Post (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24577399)

Yay!!

Re:First Post (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24577593)

Why do niggers make such great gynecologists? Because they're used to big lips, curly hair and bad breath! C'mon mods! Mod this Funny to piss off the squares!!

MOD PARENT UP (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24577887)

Blacks, being the workhorses of the human race, face many situations which other races cannot.

A good example of this being the fact that blacks drink much stronger and more dangerous (malt)beers and (fortified)wines than other races do.

In addition to being gynecological spellunkers, rough-around-the-edge blacks make good attack dogs or professional athletes.

Another fringe benefit of being darker than a paper bag is a larger-than-normal penis which increasingly attracts the Latina women, the Caucasian women, and the(very, very brave)Asian women.

A side note -- the aforementioned phenomenon is also scientific evidence of the fact that, if one give-dick, female-mouth-shut-up.

Weak Talking Points? (4, Insightful)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | more than 6 years ago | (#24577401)

This was a really well done article. One quote reminded me of something odd about this case:

FTA:

which Ivins had created in 1997 and of which he was the "sole custodian."

I keep hearing this when they interview government types. It's weird, it seems like they're trying to sow doubt about their case, because:

Ivins's lawyer (from NPR):

But Kemp said more than a hundred people had access to the flask and, more important, actually used that exact strain of anthrax. He says the anthrax in the flask was sent to two other labs and was used in dozens of experiments by other scientists

Response:

"No one received material from that flask without going through Dr. Ivins," said Jeff Taylor, U.S. attorney for Washington, D.C.

Weak...

"We thoroughly investigated every other person who could have had access to the flask and we were able to rule out all but Dr. Ivins."

OK, now you're getting somewhere! Why is it they only go to the relevant part when pressed?

Re:Weak Talking Points? (4, Funny)

topham (32406) | more than 6 years ago | (#24577441)

What you mean a case is put to rest 7 years later, recent/main suspect is dead and no questions remain.

And something looks fishy? You're just obsessive, these things are never covered up, or evidence is never made to match to current theory.
Doesn't happen.

Re:Weak Talking Points? (5, Informative)

QRDeNameland (873957) | more than 6 years ago | (#24577535)

Well, from the evidence I've seen, whatever may tie Ivins to this crime, I've seen nothing to indicate that Ivins acted alone. The fact that they can't place him in the Princeton, NJ area at the time the letters were mailed is a huge problem in that regard, as is the question of who fed false information suggesting Iraqi involvement to ABC's Brian Ross. These facts are not consistent with the FBI's seeming desire to close this case based upon Ivins being the sole culprit.

Re:Weak Talking Points? (0)

c_forq (924234) | more than 6 years ago | (#24577637)

I don't think placing him in NJ would be a problem in trial. Seriously, without a credit/check transaction it is almost impossible to place someone at a location several years ago - and if your mailing anthrax and a competent scientist I think you would be smart enough not to write checks or use your plastic when you go on your mailing trip. This would be like the body of Nina Rieser, a weakness but not a showstopper for the prosicution.

not comparable (4, Insightful)

Crispy Critters (226798) | more than 6 years ago | (#24577889)

I don't think you can compare the two cases in this way. There was a lot of circumstantial evidence against Hans specifically (e.g. hidden car with a missing seat, etc.) rather than, say, the next door neighbor.

In this case, the question to be answered is what makes us think it was Ivans rather than someone else in the lab. This part of the case is weak. It seems that many people had access. Other people likely had as strong a motive. Why him specifically?

Evidence that he went to NJ is not strictly necessary, except that so many other areas are weak. Holes don't matter if the rest of the case is very strong, but they can sink a weak case.

Re:not comparable (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24578059)

Did Ivins check out books from the library on terrorism a few days after the anthrax started arriving?

Re:Weak Talking Points? (3, Informative)

Moleculo (1321509) | more than 6 years ago | (#24578129)

Glenn Greenwald [salon.com] reports that the alleged timeline of Ivins' activities on the day the anthrax was mailed seems to rule him out as the one who sent the letter from Princeton. He attended a meeting he couldn't have made it back for in time if he had driven to Princeton and mailed it late enough that the letter was postmarked for the following day.

Re:Weak Talking Points? (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24578267)

Glenn Greenwald [salon.com] reports that the alleged timeline of Ivins' activities on the day the anthrax was mailed seems to rule him out as the one who sent the letter from Princeton. He attended a meeting he couldn't have made it back for in time if he had driven to Princeton and mailed it late enough that the letter was postmarked for the following day.

Um, that's not really a problem. I've seen this very situation on Matlock in an episode where he broke a murderous cosmetic surgeon's alibi.

You see, this doctor claimed he was at a major medical conference, with witnesses to prove it, but in fact it was just his hitherto unknown identical twin. Quite simple, really.

Re:Weak Talking Points? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24578991)

Glenn Greenwald [salon.com] reports that the alleged timeline of Ivins' activities on the day the anthrax was mailed seems to rule him out as the one who sent the letter from Princeton. He attended a meeting he couldn't have made it back for in time if he had driven to Princeton and mailed it late enough that the letter was postmarked for the following day.

Tell Glenn Greenwald that Ivins used a sockpuppet. He'll understand that even as he denies it.

Is there anything you wouldn't believe? (4, Interesting)

Jeremiah Cornelius (137) | more than 6 years ago | (#24579051)

http://xymphora.blogspot.com/2008/08/is-there-anything-you-wouldnt-believe.html [blogspot.com]

I'm sorry, but I can't help mulling over the preposterousness of the FBI's case against Bruce Ivins. The anthrax attack was made with state-of-the-art - let me correct myself, beyond-state-of-the-art - weaponized anthrax. The Russians couldn't have made it, the Chinese couldn't have made it, hell, even the Iraqis (ha!) couldn't have made it. Only one tiny group of people in the world could have made it, a handful of scientists at . . . Fort Detrick. I hate to even bring it up, but developing this expertise is completely illegal under treaties signed and ratified by the American government. The main point is that the manufacturing process needed to make this stuff was beyond the ability of anyone other than a tiny number of American scientists, and Bruce Ivins wasn't one of them.

The case against Ivins is based entirely on (questionable) DNA analysis which is said to prove that he had custody of a flask of the base anthrax material from which the weaponized powder was made. How do we get from anthrax spores to weaponized powder? According to the FBI, Ivins made it all by himself in his spare time at night.

Ivins was an immunologist. He worked on vaccines. He had neither the expertise - remember, it is beyond-state-of-the-art - nor the equipment to turn the spores into weaponized anthrax. It is as if he was trained as an accountant and the FBI told us his night-time hobby was brain surgery. Or better, manufacturing gasoline out of crude oil in the oil refinery he built in his lab, without anybody noticing. Or better, manufacturing gasoline out of crude oil in the oil refinery he built in his lab, using beyond-state-of-the-art refining techniques developed over years of experimentation, without anybody noticing.

And yet, we're told he must have done it, as he had custody of the flask. Others, some of whom were part of a team that actually had made beyond-state-of-the-art weaponized anthrax based on years of (illegal) experiments using the most sophisticated equipment and techniques, also had access to the contents of the flask, but they have been 'ruled out'. Somehow Ivins, without training in the right field, the proper equipment, years of (illegal) experiments, and a team of scientists, turned the contents of his flask into beyond-state-of-the-art weaponized anthrax in his spare time at night without anybody noticing. On top of this, he did it without getting any of the notoriously hard-to-contain spores on himself or his car or his home. If you believe this, is there anything you wouldn't believe? I have a bridge in Brooklyn I'd like to sell you.

Re:Weak Talking Points? (2, Insightful)

QRDeNameland (873957) | more than 6 years ago | (#24579057)

I don't think placing him in NJ would be a problem in trial.

I'm not talking about what evidence would be needed to convict Ivins. I'm talking about the evidence needed to rule out the possibility of other guilty parties, of which the fact that they can't place him in Princeton is just one rather relevant piece.

And, of course, since Ivins is dead, there will be no trial; assuming, of course, that they don't find any evidence of other complicit parties in their zeal to avoid that very thing.

They can't place him there because he wasn't there (4, Interesting)

MarkusQ (450076) | more than 6 years ago | (#24578887)

Well, from the evidence I've seen, whatever may tie Ivins to this crime, I've seen nothing to indicate that Ivins acted alone. The fact that they can't place him in the Princeton, NJ area at the time the letters were mailed is a huge problem in that regard, as is the question of who fed false information suggesting Iraqi involvement to ABC's Brian Ross. These facts are not consistent with the FBI's seeming desire to close this case based upon Ivins being the sole culprit.

They can't place him there because he couldn't have been there [firedoglake.com] . According to the FBI's warrants, etc. the letters were mailed from a specific box in Princeton, NJ after 5 pm on September 17, 2001. Ivins was out of the office in Frederick VA earlier in the day (after coming in briefly in the morning), but was back before 5 pm for a meeting. There is no indication that they have cracked his alibi from 5 on sufficiently to allow him to make the round trip during the time window.

Unless they have a real whopper saved up (he hired his secret twin brother to sleep with his wife that night?) Bruce Ivins could not have done it alone. Which (right on the tail of the Hatfill fiasco and the Siegelman fiasco and all the rest) might lead a reasonable person to wonder if he was involved at all.

--MarkusQ

P.S. The best way I've heard of salvaging their case would be if Ivins drove up in the daytime (he might just barely have had time) and asked someone to mail the letters for him. If they had this (presumably innocent foil) in witness protection or something they might actually have a better case than they've shown. But in any case he would have needed an accomplice of some sort.

Re:Weak Talking Points? (2, Interesting)

rve (4436) | more than 6 years ago | (#24578863)

Funny that.

American culture has a dull and relatively uneventful history of conspiracies, but a long and rich history of angry loners trying to kill public figures.

Oddly enough, people always suspect conspiracies whenever something bad happens and rarely seem to find the angry loner theory plausible.

Re:Weak Talking Points? (1)

Dun Malg (230075) | more than 6 years ago | (#24579067)

Oddly enough, people always suspect conspiracies whenever something bad happens and rarely seem to find the angry loner theory plausible.

Not so odd if you consider it for a moment. People like predictability and control in their lives. Conspiracy theories are a natural expression of that. The idea that there are wild cards out there that are largely unstoppable makes them uncomfortable. It's simply more reassuring to believe that there's a cabal of conspirators behind the evil deeds. Even if the conspiracy is beyond their personal power to stop, the notion that it's possible to stop it satisfies the desire for control.

Re:Weak Talking Points? (5, Informative)

LaskoVortex (1153471) | more than 6 years ago | (#24577585)

But Kemp said more than a hundred people had access to the flask

The flask? What is up with this? How in the hell can you chase the wrong guy for five years and then go back and get "The flask". WTF do they mean by this? I don't know anyone who has a single "flask" to maintain a culture. "The flask". I've been in this business for 15 years. I know of frozen culture stocks kept in cryo vials, or transferring a culture from several flasks to another several flasks (you'd be an idiot to have just one flask for a stable culture) indefinitely, etc. Also, it looks like you could keep a stable stock in an envelop if you really think about it (or else you couldn't have the anthrax attacks themselves). But "The Flask", like there is only one--this is pure ignorance or just made up for drama. I'm not saying anything about this case except that the language used to talk about it in the media and by the FBI is sophomoric. I wonder if the language is any indication of their understanding of the science behind this case?

Re:Weak Talking Points? (4, Informative)

HangingChad (677530) | more than 6 years ago | (#24577929)

I wonder if the language is any indication of their understanding of the science behind this case?

The anthrax attacks are what the administration used to make the Iraq connection. John McCain himself was one of the people shopping that idea around the news media. You think this bunch would worry about a few post office employees or mail room people dying? So, yeah, the flask is as convenient as it is inexplicable. Dude committing suicide before the feds had a chance to question him, equally convenient. That the politicized Justice Dept. spent so much time stubbornly pursuing the wrong suspect, convenient. Now all this evidence that looks so obvious in one convenient package. That all the agents working this case in the last seven years either didn't see or didn't put together? Talk about straining credibility.

Incompetence raised to a high enough level is indistinguishable from malice. We know they're incompetent and it certainly isn't straining credibility to think this bunch would be capable of doing it deliberately.

Re:Weak Talking Points? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24578127)

Incompetence raised to a high enough level is indistinguishable from malice. We know they're incompetent and it certainly isn't straining credibility to think this bunch would be capable of doing it deliberately.

The real mystery here is why you think they are so incompetent, when -- also according to you -- just about everything worked out exactly as they wanted it to, and they are almost certainly going to get away from this free and clear.

Re:Weak Talking Points? (0, Troll)

ScentCone (795499) | more than 6 years ago | (#24578339)

You think this bunch would worry about a few post office employees or mail room people dying?

No, of course not. They, personally, like it when the little guy dies horribly. They want children to starve, endangered species to become extinct, and senior citizens to have to eat dog food. They actually want those tings, as you know. It's good of you to point that out, though, just in case someone who hadn't made up their mind yet can safely settle on them as cartoon villains. Certainly they're worse, of course, than the previous "bunch," who were perfectly happy to see someone like Vince Foster "commit suicide" while their history of crooked dealings was on parade. What? That's crazy talk? Oh.

Re:Weak Talking Points? (5, Insightful)

smaddox (928261) | more than 6 years ago | (#24578583)

That was the worst straw-man argument I have ever read.

The parent post simply stated that the people in power wouldn't mind a few innocent people dieing if it served The Greater Good.

Obviously, this is the truth considering the US has been killing innocent people in Iraq for years now - all in the name of The Greater Good.

Re:Weak Talking Points? (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24579107)

the US has been killing innocent people in Iraq for years now - all in the name of The Greater Good.

So that's why the USA is there -- to make sure lots of innocent people die?

And here I thought most of the deaths these days were due to fanatics attacking the occupying forces and not caring about all the civilians around. So, I guess the way to stop killing innocent people in Iraq is to pull out immediately, and hand the country over to the fanatics who don't care about killing innocent people. Is that better? Are you sure? How do you know?

Im not an expert in this but I'm hoping when the USA leaves, the Iraqi army will be able to keep control of the country. Fanatics will probably still keep attacking and the innocent will probably still keep dying. Will that be the USA's fault too? What is really best for the innocent people in Iraq?

Re:Weak Talking Points? (3, Informative)

zappepcs (820751) | more than 6 years ago | (#24578015)

I was thinking this same thing: the wording seems odd. After reading several other posted stories (such as http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=93381622 [npr.org] ) I think that the phrase "The Flask" seems to be casual lab term that was used to relay the information from the investigators on the ground to those that report the story to the news and courts etc. In the same way that a mechanic might casually refer to a window regulator that was replaced on a car. It's not common terminology, but specific to those who work on those systems, and despite our vocabularies, it's a very handy way to refer to the motor and stuff that makes your window go up and down.

These sites:
http://www.bellcoglass.com/searchcategoryresult.aspx?keyword=culture%20flask [bellcoglass.com]
and
http://iai.asm.org/cgi/reprint/58/2/303.pdf [asm.org] would support my statements to some extent. I can't yet find anything noteworthy about there being only a single flask of this culture. It seems like a single flask is identified because of the four markers found in all the attack samples and the flask Ivins had control of. There were probably many flasks of the spores but only this one matched to the spores used in the attacks. At least that is how I read all this, despite the questions that remain unanswered.

Re:Weak Talking Points? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24578561)

"I was thinking this same thing: the wording seems odd."

"The Flask" is just the same kind of code word as "Slump" used in the Kennedy assassination.

"The Flask" is the "Official Lie".

See 25:00 minute point in the following video:

http://video.google.ca/videoplay?docid=4330031689287456187&ei=dVuiSNiJG4zYqwPI2Ywr

Re:Weak Talking Points? (2, Interesting)

sgt_doom (655561) | more than 6 years ago | (#24578449)

Outstanding points, good citizen LaskoVortex.

I've been following this on an excellent site [blogspot.com] of Dr. Meryl Nass - highly recommended. Also, might suggest anyone to read this article [ucla.edu] .

Thanks for your excellent post.

Re:Weak Talking Points? (1, Insightful)

sgt_doom (655561) | more than 6 years ago | (#24578417)

Sorry, dood, but I call complete and utter BS on the FBI's fairy tale. Try perusing this outstanding site [blogspot.com] by a most knowledgeable individual and also read this excellent article [ucla.edu] .

Once upon a time, way back when I worked in Seattle, there was this clown of a police chief named Fitzsimons. Everytime someone was murdered, without any investigation whatsoever, Fitzsimons would proclaim the murder to be drug-related.

Of course, it turned out in 9 out of 10 times to be an unrelated homicide of some sort - but the damage had already been done to the hapless victim's reputation.

FYI: That sorry ass police chief left Seattle to join the faculty of the FBI Academy at Quantico.....wonder what lessons he taught the feebs (bet it had something to do with pinning unsolved murders on unfortunate suicides......)

I like their music. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24577413)

Anthrax rocks are bigger than Alan Cox.

Re:I like their music. (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24577661)

My rocks and my cock are larger than your sock.

Re:I like their music. (1)

rubberglove (1066394) | more than 6 years ago | (#24577671)

I thought they were 'Basket Full of Puppies' now.

Re:I like their music. (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24577673)

Anthrax rocks are bigger than Alan Cox.

Thanks to Scott Ian it hurts when I go peein'...

How about..... (-1, Troll)

crhylove (205956) | more than 6 years ago | (#24577425)

Government stages false flag terror operations, including sending Anthrax to government officials, 9/11, World Trade Center Building 7, Pentagon. Senate and Congress are scared, vote for patriot act, vote for war in Iraq, Afghanistan, vote for telecom immunity and wire tapping.

End of the Constitution

End of Democracy

Once again, fascism starts giant world war and millions die.

I'm pretty sure this recipe is vaguely familiar.

Re:How about..... (5, Insightful)

ShadowRangerRIT (1301549) | more than 6 years ago | (#24577529)

One flaw with your theory:

It assumes competence. I could see something on the level of say, an anthrax attack being possible to arrange with a minimum amount of people involved. Most of the other events you mention would require too many participants to enforce secrecy. I've worked in classified settings for the government, and not to denigrate my coworkers in the least, but secrecy within an organization is a joke. While external secrecy is fairly good, the secrets aren't morally outrageous. I somehow doubt people would take their oaths particularly seriously if they discovered the U.S. government organized any of the above events.

Now if you want to argue that it was a sin of inaction, that someone high up knew an attack was coming and chose to do nothing, that might be plausible, since less people would need to be involved. I wouldn't rule it out completely, though my faith in humanity would be shattered if it were the case. I'm not inclined to believe even that much.

Personally, I think the attacks were unexpected. The people you accuse of conspiracy did not aid them in any way, they just took obscene advantage of the situation.

Re:How about..... (4, Interesting)

tftp (111690) | more than 6 years ago | (#24577643)

You say: Personally, I think the attacks were unexpected.

But just below your post another /.ter mentions another article [salon.com] which says:

"The attacks were not entirely unexpected. I had been told soon after Sept. 11 to secure Cipro, the antidote to anthrax. The tip had come in a roundabout way from a high government official, and I immediately acted on it. I was carrying Cipro way before most people had ever heard of it.

I hear this claim not the first time, and there should be plenty of physical evidence to support this claim if it's true (such as receipts for Cipro retained at pharmacies.) And if this is true then the attacks were expected, and the "right people" were advised to act ahead of time.

Re:How about..... (4, Insightful)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 6 years ago | (#24577751)

It's likely. And even makes sense. What happens when there isn't enough of an antidote for everyone and you warn the public of a possible attack? So who do you warn? Those that you need to keep the country afloat in case it really happens, for which you do have enough antidote.

The problem is that you can't even justify it later without risking an outrage. It is, from a purely intellectual point of view, the most sensible thing to do. But you can't justify it "morally" that you play god and decide who may live and who will die should it really happen.

And this is how conspiracies are born.

Re:How about..... (1)

ShadowRangerRIT (1301549) | more than 6 years ago | (#24577767)

I was referring to the other events he listed (9/11, WTC bombing). Sorry if I wasn't clear. The anthrax mailings I know too little about to give much of an opinion on.

That said, anthrax paranoia does not imply awareness of a specific threat. Remember, at one point a substantial portion of the country thought Saddam:

  1. Had weapons of mass destruction
  2. Was providing them to terrorists

If that was believed, it would be logical (or at least, movie logical as Bruce Schneier might put it) to take precautionary measures, even without a known imminent threat.

Re:How about..... (5, Insightful)

Rakishi (759894) | more than 6 years ago | (#24577777)

Not really, it only implies someone thought an attack using anthrax was possible. In other it means nothing except someone was intelligent enough to realize anthrax was a plausible biological weapon. Conspiracy theories exist because human brains are pattern matching machines and if you look enough at something you'll find some form of pattern by pure chance. Science and statistics exist because someone realized that without rigorous standards the conclusion we draw are often less than worthless.

Re:How about..... (1)

ben2umbc (1090351) | more than 6 years ago | (#24578291)

George Carlin had a comedy sketch about terrorists hijacking planes which was remarkably similar to 9/11 years before it happened.

How about history? (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24578541)

I think people should study some history more. They would learn all sorts of things what people have conspired. A state of the art operation produces minimal casualties and maximal fear effect while driving the policy. Sun Tzu taught the case for casus belli operations thousands of years before. His writings are the holy book of US military and Pentagon.

Re:How about history? (1)

Rakishi (759894) | more than 6 years ago | (#24579017)

History books also omit the 50 billion other coincidences that didn't have any backing for them. If you're working in hindsight you can even make things look like coincidences by reinterpreting them (see prophecies of a certain dead guy).

Re:How about..... (1)

replicant108 (690832) | more than 6 years ago | (#24577903)

Now if you want to argue that it was a sin of inaction, that someone high up knew an attack was coming and chose to do nothing, that might be plausible, since less people would need to be involved. I wouldn't rule it out completely, though my faith in humanity would be shattered if it were the case. I'm not inclined to believe even that much.

Well, if it's going to upset you, then you probably shouldn't think about it at all.

Some questions:

Do you think there are Freddie Scappaticcis-type informers [wikipedia.org] in Al Qaeda?

How do you think US intelligence agencies maintain high-level assets within terrorist organisations?

Do you think American intelligence services ever allow terrorist attacks to go ahead?

Re:How about..... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24578109)

I guess you've never heard of Sibel Edmonds who's been trying to make noise on this exact case, yet is consistently not allowed to. Government knew well in advance of 9-11.

Do you want to discuss SCIENCE? (-1, Troll)

crhylove (205956) | more than 6 years ago | (#24578271)

The "government" was well aware of 9/11 before it happened, because they were in charge of the entire operation. There is VAST evidence suggesting that there were tons of bombs in both of the twin towers.

If you really want to talk about science, you will not be refuting me. You will be actively refuting the 9/11 commission report, the NIST conclusions, the "official story", and all the other lies that have been propagated on a populace that does not know enough about physics, construction, media manipulation, and logic to even begin to question the "official" story.

It is a simple fact that there was THERMATE in the buildings, which is an incendiary of incredible strength, burning in an exothermic reaction hotter than the core of the sun.

It is a simple fact that all 3 WTC buildings fell at free fall speed, completely impossible WITHOUT the use of explosives and incendiaries.

Refute Steven Jones, a Mormon, and a highly respected academic. Refute the engineers that built the world trade center buildings. Refute the eye witnesses that carried wounded people out of the towers that were clearly injured by explosives.

9/11 was an inside job. Do your scientific research and refute that.

Re:Do you want to discuss SCIENCE? (4, Insightful)

The Master Control P (655590) | more than 6 years ago | (#24578391)

Where to start?

Well for one, it's spelled "thermite" not "thermate." And while it does indeed burn quite hot, it doesn't even remotely approach the temperature at the core of the sun. Not by a factor of more than a thousand. Also, it takes an enormous amount of heat to initiate the thermite reaction - burning jet fuel won't cut it.

The buildings coming down at freefall speed? Well duh, they're 90% air. Once the tops, which weighed half a million tons, got moving, nothing was going to stop them due to intertia.

People coming out with injuries due to explosives? Not suprising, since the planes impacting the buildings caused GIANT EXPLOSIONS that set multiple entire floors on fire.

Seriously, Bushco is guilty of plenty enough crimes that they actually committed to deserve the deaths of traitors - no need to make shit up.

Re:Do you want to discuss SCIENCE? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24578705)

Where to start?

And while I appreciate your taking the time to debunk the loon...

The loon in question (and all of his looney friends, and the hundreds of man-years that sane people have wasted in attempts to debunk them) is the perfect example of Thomas Pynchon's Proverbs for Paranoids in action.

"3. If they can get you asking the wrong questions, they don't have to worry about answers."
- Thomas Pynchon, (Proverbs for Paranoids), in Gravity's Rainbow

If there were a 9/11 conspiracy, it'd be necessary for the conspirators to invent something as insane as the thermite "theory", if for no other reason than to keep everyone busy debunking the bogus claims of the loons, rather than asking the right questions. And of course, if there weren't a 9/11 conspiracy, some idiot would have come up with something as insane as the thermite "theory" anyway.

So you can't even use the existence of the truther loons as evidence that there is, or isn't, a conspiracy. Catch-22. Best catch there is.

Re:Do you want to discuss SCIENCE? (1)

The Master Control P (655590) | more than 6 years ago | (#24579061)

Eh, it wasn't much of my time. And leaving it unanswered [xkcd.com] opens up the possibility of someone else reading it and believing it's correct. I view troofers and other conspiracy loons as one of a. the kind who blame the someone else for everything because they refuse to face up to their failures, b. the kind who are there to scam you into buying their troofer book, or c. people who have schizophrenia or other some other disorder that impairs one's ability to correctly discern reality.

Outside "I Exist," nothing else can be absolutely proven and we have to accept certain axioms to function - troofers either refuse to accept them or they use "wrong" axioms, in which case anything can be proven, since all statements can be proven true given contadictory axioms.

And while we're on troofer theories, here's mine: the neocons knowingly let it happen because pnac wanted their new Pearl Harbor. Half of bushco are sociopaths IMO... If not sociopaths, severely delusional.

Re:Do you want to discuss SCIENCE? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24578747)

The buildings coming down at freefall speed? Well duh, they're 90% air. Once the tops, which weighed half a million tons, got moving, nothing was going to stop them due to intertia.

Yeah true, but demolitions are not done with just one explosion 75% of the way up the building. There IS a lot of air inside, but there are also supports running all the way up.

I'm NOT saying that it was a controlled demolition, only that I'm not sure it wasn't. I am not an expert (or even a knowledgeable layman) and I'm not taking my seat-of-the-pants feeling as a real analysis. I don't consider us (to include myself) capable of really addressing the question here, partly because one of the options leads us off into a never-never land where we have to ask who did the demolition.

I'm not a 9-11 truther, and despite my misanthropy and cynicism I just can't believe that any group of any size could have the buildings professionally demolished and then successfully cover it up. But it looked weird as hell, and I don't believe that the official version is all that credible. I just don't see that running planes into the buildings that far up would make the entire buildings collapse into their own footprints. But the alternative is too weird to contemplate as well, so...

Re:Do you want to discuss SCIENCE? (1)

Dun Malg (230075) | more than 6 years ago | (#24579151)

But it looked weird as hell, and I don't believe that the official version is all that credible. I just don't see that running planes into the buildings that far up would make the entire buildings collapse into their own footprints.

"Looked weird as hell"? Of course it did. We've never seen anything on that scale before or since. Unless you have one or more other examples of 100+ story truss-stabilized tubular frame supported structures that were hit by aircraft and then collapsed, you have no grounds to claim that's not what happens. Really, if you have doubts, read the Popular Mechanics debunking. It logically lays the whole thing out. Seriously, the "truthers" theories are completely insane. It's not too to entertain the notion that perhaps the building was wired for demolition, but when you view that assertion in light of all the other things that would have to be true--- the various degrees of complicity in the hijacking that'd be necessary--- it's just complete and utter nonsense. Some fucktard jihadis found a loophole in the system and exploited it. Shit happens.

Re:Do you want to discuss SCIENCE? (2, Informative)

Ortega-Starfire (930563) | more than 6 years ago | (#24578663)

I'd take the time to refute you, but someone else has:
www.lolloosechange.co.nr

Also, my personal favorite:
www.thebestpageintheuniverse.net/c.cgi?u=911_morons

Oh, but your comment about thermate is hilarious. I'll give you points for that one.

Re:How about..... (-1, Flamebait)

urcreepyneighbor (1171755) | more than 6 years ago | (#24577623)

Government stages false flag terror operations, including sending Anthrax to government officials, 9/11, World Trade Center Building 7, Pentagon.

Eat shit and die.

Re:How about..... (1)

MSTCrow5429 (642744) | more than 6 years ago | (#24578823)

Some slight errors:

1) On the Federal level, you can either have the Constitution OR democracy, not both.

2) The Constitution ended a long, long time ago, and almost no current politicians make any pretense of having any loyalty to it.

3) Fascism is system of government and economics. It is also known as Corporatism (a point of some confusion among the less educated, it has zero to do with the corporation as presently understood). Even if your first paragraph's contentions where true in their entirety, it would not necessarily indicate a fascist system of government and society.

Critical Analysis of Ivins investigation (4, Informative)

bughunter (10093) | more than 6 years ago | (#24577443)

For those who aren't yet aware of it, Glen Greenwald at Salon.com [salon.com] has been making a rather thorough analysis of the holes in the DOJ's case against Ivins, and is not sparing the media coverage, either.

Read and judge for yourself.

Re:Critical Analysis of Ivins investigation (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24577477)

The FBI are such clowns. They can barely beat up a deadman, much less a live one!

tracking the envelopes (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24577491)

Does anybody know how the feds know where a specific envelope was purchased? I've been looking at the ones I own, and there doesn't seem to be anything identifiable about them.

Re:tracking the envelopes (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24577565)

Printing errors. Just to blow your mind, it's possible to tell who printed something off their desktop too--small codes are hidden in printed images, etc.

Re:tracking the envelopes (1)

Vectronic (1221470) | more than 6 years ago | (#24577651)

No I don't, but I can guess...

Things such as:

1) The glue and/or paper used
  - May change area/store to store, and depend on when the envelope was manufactured.
(X + Y chems, means 12:00am on X day, which means transport X would have sent it to X store, etc)
2) If its one of those ones with the pattern on the inside to prevent reading, that pattern.
  - which may also have some sort of serial number in it (like money)
3) If you go really far into it, things like the chemicals on the envelope left behind by the store, transport, etc.
4) receipts.
5) surveillance cameras.

Plus less substantial things such as
1) "they" bought envelopes there before.
2) Proximity to residence/area they were in.

And im sure there is more, it all depends on how much time + money you are willing to spend to find out.

Re:tracking the envelopes (2, Informative)

snemarch (1086057) | more than 6 years ago | (#24578067)

If the envelopes were pre-paid, they contain watermarks that has information about the post-office they were sold from etc. No reason to do fancy glue chemical analysis :)

Re:tracking the envelopes (1)

clarkkent09 (1104833) | more than 6 years ago | (#24577837)

Well, first they take a DNA sample of the saliva used to seal the envelope with the anthrax and they match it to a specific person. Then they follow that person around and find out where they usually do their shopping and check which of those stores carry envelopes. From then on it's a simple matter of.... oh, wait...

I think Hans Reiser did it. (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24577493)

Dr Bruce Ivins was just a patsy. Hans Reiser actually did it.

It's the gadolinium level (2)

Latent Heat (558884) | more than 6 years ago | (#24577821)

The gadolinium level was off the chart, I tell you. That is what tipped them off.

Was Ivins in Princeton? (3, Interesting)

vrmlguy (120854) | more than 6 years ago | (#24577523)

A glaring omission, meanwhile, is any evidence placing Ivins in Princeton, New Jersey, on any of the days the envelopes could have been mailed from there.

Personally, I don't see that as such a big deal. I'll assume that there's no evidence that he wasn't in Princeton on those days. Lots of criminals have been caught by credit card receipts from gas stations, but those stories have gotten lots of press over the years. Ivins was at least as smart as Lisa Nowak, who planned her crime attempt meticulously. Sure, people laughed about her using adult diapers, but I'll bet there weren't any photos taken of her at rest stops. I'd bet he not only paid cash for his gasoline, he probably checked the driving distance and his car's MPG, and bought exactly the amount used on the trip.

Re:Was Ivins in Princeton? (1)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | more than 6 years ago | (#24578049)

Ivins was at least as smart as Lisa Nowak, who planned her crime attempt meticulously. Sure, people laughed about her using adult diapers,

Yet another case of the media hyping a false report.
The diapers were BABY diapers, in a box in the backseat of her car left over from a hurricane evacuation a few years prior. No way they would fit an adult woman, even one who was air force fit. [msn.com]

Re:Was Ivins in Princeton? (4, Interesting)

Moleculo (1321509) | more than 6 years ago | (#24578155)

Your assumption that there is no evidence that he wasn't in Princeton might be false (see Glenn Greenwald's reporting [salon.com] ). In addition, the fed are painting contradictory pictures of Ivins when it suits them: was he a sorority-obsessed homicidal madman in the middle of a psychiatric breakdown or a meticulous criminal mastermind leaving no detail to chance?

Re:Was Ivins in Princeton? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24578259)

It seems that it's impossible to have been Ivins himself at least:

http://letters.salon.com/opinion/greenwald/radio/2008/08/08/anthrax/permalink/be7ec4d7d071dc887bc4e2ecf50360ff.html

FBI's Mailbox Schedule Exonerates Ivins...

Re:Was Ivins in Princeton? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24578399)

A glaring omission, meanwhile, is any evidence placing Ivins in Princeton, New Jersey, on any of the days the envelopes could have been mailed from there.

Personally, I don't see that as such a big deal. I'll assume that there's no evidence that he wasn't in Princeton on those days.

Bad assumption. See Glen Greenwald, linked above.

"Revealed", that's a good one (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24577531)

-1 submitter. Speculation is not "revealed", facts are.

Ivans (-1, Troll)

Free the Cowards (1280296) | more than 6 years ago | (#24577555)

New potential motivations by Ivans are also revealed.

What do you mean new potential motivations? They're Ivans, they're trying to sap and impurify our precious bodily fluids, they don't need additional motivations!

(P.S. the guy's name is spelled Ivins.)

How much of it is a CYA op? (5, Insightful)

ericferris (1087061) | more than 6 years ago | (#24577587)

So if we base a clever article on a leaked document, shouldn't we first assume that the document is truthful?

When a high-profile person commits suicide because of the pressure of an investigation, the authorities will always try to justify their action. This was observed many times. I do remember a big scandal where a perfectly honest corner shop owner was investigated by the IRS and harassed in the worst possible ways. He turned out that his books were perfectly clean, but there was nevertheless an attempt at a smear campaign against the poor guy after his death.

I am sure that this suicide is embarrassing some higher-ups at the FBI and that they will do their best to avoid being blamed.

So I'd take these revelations with a grain of salt.

Re:How much of it is a CYA op? (1)

Fierlo (842860) | more than 6 years ago | (#24577911)

I don't remember seeing the real life version of this, but I do remember seeing something similar in a movie.

In Mumford, the IRS agents made sure to get their target. They planted evidence, harassed accountants (because every accountant has something to hide). And, at the end of the day, a small business owner offed himself because the scrutiny got to him.

Good movie, except for the entire 'romantic' portion.

Re:How much of it is a CYA op? (3, Informative)

ericferris (1087061) | more than 6 years ago | (#24578083)

Five seconds of Googling find some juicy cases of suicide by IRS. The first link: here [nytimes.com] .

So unfortunately, it's not just in movies.

Now, remember, I am not saying that the evidences cited in TFA are fake or incorrect. I am just citing precedent to show what is at stake here.

Re:How much of it is a CYA op? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24577959)

Well, I don't know if his family/estate can sue the FBI for harassment, but if they can then the higher-ups will end up being blamed anyway, or at least forced to donate cold, hard cash. If the FBI is immune from any such action, it is possible that skeptics and pressure groups interested in manipulating the elections will play the public sympathy card. People have largely forgotten the attacks, but the suicide is fresh enough to be useful trollbait. (Personally, I think the guy was either innocent entirely OR innocent by reason of insanity, depending on what version of his personality you see.)

Re:How much of it is a CYA op? (4, Insightful)

Moleculo (1321509) | more than 6 years ago | (#24578193)

Remember Rudy Guiliani telling the press that an innocent guy shot by NYC cops "was no altar boy" when, in fact, he was literally an altar boy at the same Catholic school Guiliani attended.

Was Ivins just another anti-abortion kook? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24577595)

It just sounds like he had a motive.

Always the dead guy (4, Insightful)

Swampash (1131503) | more than 6 years ago | (#24577663)

Call me paranoid, but I'm instinctively suspicious when the guy who unexpectedly ends up dead and thus isn't around to defend himself is revealed by the government to be TEH GENIUS CRIMINAL MASTERMIND!!!1.

to consider (0, Redundant)

Trailer Trash (60756) | more than 6 years ago | (#24577683)

"The impression that they're not good may just come from their style. They never tell you anything.

Yeah, or, it might be that I (and the rest of America) had to make Steve Hatfill and Richard Jewell millionaires because these guys thought it would be great to make their lives hell by "leaking" to the press that they were being "investigated" when, in fact, they were being set up to take the fall. Given the record of these high-profile cases, there is *no* reason to believe that Ivins is the guy. His death was very convenient for the wrap-up that we're seeing now - "oh well, he's dead but we think he did it so we'll close this case. Say, anybody see the big game last night? is that Madonna over there?"

Re:to consider (1)

Trailer Trash (60756) | more than 6 years ago | (#24577693)

One other note - this stuff ends when the people responsible have to pay the judgements rather than their employers.

Case not cracked (3, Interesting)

MSTCrow5429 (642744) | more than 6 years ago | (#24577723)

Contrary to the triumphalist tone of the uber-parent, the case has not been cracked, chipped, broken apart, or otherwise solved.

Forgive me if I don't believe it (3, Interesting)

Fear the Clam (230933) | more than 6 years ago | (#24577757)

Considering the avalanche of bullshit the Justice Department has been spewing out (and/or failing to remember) during this administration, I honestly don't know why they're bothering to make a case. I'm not going to bother reading anything about this story because I'm pretty sure its just going to be more of the same.

I was cynical before, but at this point I don't even bother reading the news.

Re:Forgive me if I don't believe it (2, Funny)

sgt_doom (655561) | more than 6 years ago | (#24578471)

Blessings onto you, oh thinking human. Should anyone ever discover Mueller ever telling the truth about ANYTHING, please be sure to wake me up.....

you know a man is a ranking public enemy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24577827)

when people keep coming up with different spellings of his name (Qaddafi/Gaddafi, Osama/Usama, Ivins/Ivans).

Not Convinced (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24577845)

I'll admit that I am a *little bit* into conspiracy theories, but I'm not at all convinced that Ivins is guilty. When he was around to defend himself, the evidence was really weak and inconclusive, but as soon as he died, heaps of damning evidence suddenly appeared and all the holes in the story were filled in.

occam's razor (1, Insightful)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 6 years ago | (#24577957)

suggests the actions of a loan deranged scientist as more likely than some sort of conspiracy

it always amazes me how the same people that talk of the federal government in terms of utter incompetence in one sentence, the next sentence they are suggesting a multiorganizational airtight conspiracy has been meticulously arranged

motive? right! warhawks hellbent on invading iraq... zzz

warhawks DO exist. but most everything that happens in the realm of tricky manipulation is usually due to the individual initiative of individual warhawks. not some sort of grand poobah conspiracy of warhawk cabals, or whatever. this is called paranoid schizophrenia, not intelligent insight

i think some people have been watching too many steven seagal movies. real life is far more mundane than your fantasy life suggests, i'm sorry about that

but don't mind me, i'm obviously an agent of the illuminati, come to cast aspersions on armchair intelligence anaylsts and their cutting insights

oops! gotta go, someone's chatting about the vince foster suicide cover up on an obscure message board... gotta cover that up... brb

Re:occam's razor (1)

Sleepy (4551) | more than 6 years ago | (#24578273)

Who says the war hasn't gone according to plan?? It'll take Iraq 3 decades to rebuild, and we're not leaving till that's DONE (or long term contracts are signed).

Every time I see the news reporting lost weapons, corruption, forged intelligence, and dead middle class idealistic kids I'm thinking of Bush and the neocons, "Bring em on".

good for you (1)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 6 years ago | (#24578713)

what does that have to do with a dead anthrax scientist?

Cutting yourself with Occam's razor (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24578593)

These days it's more usual that people cut themselves when shaving too much with that Occam's razor. Namely, they usually insist on believing the absolute minimal and ignore all inconsistencies and contradictions. They never go against the authority and parrot it's message, calling others lunatics and paranoid. God created the Earth. End of story. No explanations necessary. The Authority has spoken.

paranoia is not a replacement for intelligence (2, Insightful)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 6 years ago | (#24578683)

let me be perfectly clear: distrust of government is the mark of a healthy society

i repeat: distrust of government is the mark of a healthy society

have i made myself crystal clear?

meanwhile, rabid kneejerk hobbling distrust is the mark of someone with a personality disorder

you can distrust TOO MUCH just as much as you can trust too much. got that?

you are correct, it is 100% possible to trust too much. but it is also possible to distrust too much. it's a balance

so when you see someone who is trying to balance trust and distrust, you are not allowed to accuse them of trusting to much, simply because they do not share with you your impoverished level of distrust. your distrust is on the far end of the specturm. it is not healthy. of course, there are those on the far end of too much trust too. they are unhealthy too. i view them, and you, with incredulity

but don't mind me, right? i'm obviously a blind fooled sheeple. you've got it all figured out from your basement and your vast collection of intartube links. i should trust your fantasy life based on b-grade hollywood movies as superior to dem evil gubmints

baaaaah

baaaaah

New potential motivations ... are also revealed? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24577985)

One of the weak points in the affidavit is Ivins's motive, says Gregory Koblentz, a biodefense specialist at George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia. The FBI suggests that Ivins was afraid of losing his job if the government ended a project he was working on that was trying to solve regulatory issues around the so-called AVA anthrax vaccine. It "seems a bit of a stretch" that Ivins would have thought his job hinged on that project, says Koblentz. His group "would have had plenty of other anthrax vaccine-related work to keep them busy."

Sounds, to me, like the same line trotted out before. So, what new potential motives are revealed?

Idiots who run Slashdot at it again (4, Insightful)

briancarnell (94247) | more than 6 years ago | (#24578001)

I realize I'm expecting a lot, but couldn't a Slashdot summary be accurate, just once.

First, its Bruce IVINS. Not IVANS. The Russians had nothing to do with this.

Second, the linked article doesn't provide any new information at all regarding IVINS' alleged motivations. It just repeats what's been reported already. And those don't make a lot of sense (the claims that he was psychologically unstable make much more sense, if those are reliable).

Third, yes anthrax fingeprinting was crucial to this case. Yes they brute forced the DNA sequencing (duh!) but the main evidence against Ivins is a statistical fingerprint based on four specific mutations in the anthrax that the FBI claims was present in the anthrax mailed to Congress critters, etc. and the anthrax in a vial that only Ivins controlled. But as the linked article points out, without knowing more you can't really conclude much from that. For example, the similarities could occur in portions of the anthrax DNA that are hypervariable which would significantly reduce their value.

So, so far it looks like the FBI case is based largely on two facts: a) Ivins began working late nights in the weeks prior to the anthrax mailings -- he apparently claimed he had trouble at home and found solace in his work which the FBI apparently found absurd; b) a statistical similarity in certain unspecified mutations among the anthrax mailed out and the anthrax in a vial that only Ivins had access to.

The Science article also suggests that the FBI assumed that because the envelopes used to mail the anthrax were purchased in Maryland or Virginia that the anthrax *had* to be produced there, so they then used as a basis for their investigation that the anthrax *had* to come from USAMRIID . . . which is why they focused on Hatfill so intensely.

Maybe Ivins was the killer, but the Science article seems to raise more questions about how solid the FBI's case really is. Maybe future, more detailed information releases will bring this more into focus, but so far this doesn't appear to be the slam dunk that the FBI has so far made it seem.

Re:Idiots who run Slashdot at it again (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24578203)

Yup, whoever posted this /. summary was in a hurry. There is absolutely no news about any breakthroughs in discerning Ivins' possible motivations.

As far as I'm concerned, the single most convincing piece of evidence against Ivins was that he committed suicide as the Feds were moving in (after they settled with Hatfill). Was he being harassed? Sure, but he was apparently a prickly fellow who wouldn't have shrunk from a confrontation that he felt he could or should win. After all, he just saw Steven Hatfill vindicated and becoming wealthy after undergoing more than a year of similar harassment.

Some other convincing arguments, other than that he had the means and opportunity, and that the analysis showed that he *could* have done it:

1) He sought mental health counseling several years back, and at least one shrink thought he was psychotic

2) He was uncooperative with the early investigation, providing unuseable samples

3) He had a history of weird, vengeful behavior, especially the sorority bit.

4) His brother did not think it was implausible that he could have done it

FBI destroyed anthrax evidence (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24578665)

It seems incredible that FBI has seen fit to destroy the original antrax evidence in the case.

Re:FBI destroyed anthrax evidence (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24579085)

It seems incredible that FBI has seen fit to destroy the original antrax evidence in the case.

I agree. They could have just kept all that shit laying around in an envelope or something.

Sh17 (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24578031)

fucking numb3rs, [goat.cx]

Paranoia or logic? (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24578345)

How does an anti-terrorist bioweapons expert in the service of US military turn to a domestic terrorist right after terrorists attacked USA, and decide to launch a terrorist attack of his own?

All within one week, creating his own strain of anthrax, getting the stuff needed for manufacturing it and mailing it, all without leaving any evidence? Or was Ivins prepared to carry out the anthrax attacks even before 9-11 took place?

It is apparent that people with GOP connections received warnings and went on Cipro before any of the anthrax letters were even mailed.

Ivins was also a part of the investigation team, which would be standard CIA procedure, if this was a CIA op. (This is why FBI agents and coroners are used for assassinations inside USA, because they can be used to coverup the crimes.) Ivins would also likely have been easy to talk into the op since he was a rabid arab hater and neocon, as well as easy to blackmail later to take the blame, since he had a wife and 2 kids.

A lone person just doesn't spontaneously feel motivated to join al-Qaeda terrorist attacks against their own nation, especially if they work for the US military anti-terrorim team, even if their invention were to get more use.

This Salon guy has lots more discrepancies in the official story:
http://www.salon.com/opinion/greenwald/2008/08/01/anthrax/index.html

It is clear to me that FBI is covering up one of the GOP's illegal Casus Belli operations for Iraq war. You can keep your head in the sand, while calling others paranoid, but it won't make you any more secure.

something else... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24578549)

There were a number of mysterious deaths involving more than 12 microbiologists around the world in the year or so after 9/11. Wonder if any of this is related!

Disturbingly coincidental related event (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24578759)

Back in 2001, there was a rumor that some locations in a foreign country, a country considered as a potential Al-Qaeda training grounds, are being used as anthrax testing grounds. One of the top leaders (Al-Qaeda was quite structured at that time) had a large bank account in that country financial institution. That institution was incidentally also a reservoir of a grant from a related US department.

2 weeks before 911, there was an urgent request from the said financial institution to a huge US based IT company, to take over it's IT system by force. The reason of the hostile take over is because the old IT department blackmail the financial institution.

The take over was a success. And then a total rewrite of their core banking application was executed. Relevant data were migrated..

A couple of months after 911, US declared that the institution was misusing the grant.

Conspiracy theory start, 3, 2, 1. :-)

No one questioning death by Tylenol? (2, Interesting)

FrenchSilk (847696) | more than 6 years ago | (#24578787)

One of the oddest aspects of this case is the way that Ivins supposedly chose to commit suicide. Tylenol typically causes a horrible, drawn-out death that takes two to three weeks. The impression given by the media is that he tossed down a bottle of Tylenol, grabbed his throat and keeled over. But that just isn't the way it happens, and Ivins would have known that.

This article [emedicine.com] provides an excellent discussion of the time line of deterioration and eventual death that results comes from Tylenol poisoning.

Re:No one questioning death by Tylenol? (3, Interesting)

winwar (114053) | more than 6 years ago | (#24578873)

"Tylenol typically causes a horrible, drawn-out death that takes two to three weeks. The impression given by the media is that he tossed down a bottle of Tylenol, grabbed his throat and keeled over."

Dying from liver toxicity sucks. But he took tylenol with codeine. Enough codeine tends to suppress breathing (Codeine: toxic dose about 240 mg). Typical doses of codeine are 15 to 60mg with a maximum of 360mg per 24 hours. Not breathing for a period, say over 10 minutes, will tend to result in death.

If you have tylenol with codeine, you probably have enough to overdose.

Re:No one questioning death by Tylenol? (1)

FrenchSilk (847696) | more than 6 years ago | (#24578969)

Thanks for the clarification! I guess it makes sense after all.

Re:No one questioning death by Tylenol? (1)

budcub (92165) | more than 6 years ago | (#24578883)

It wasn't just OTC Tylenol, it was a prescription pain killer, some kind of opiate mixed with Tylenol.

Not enough evidence is public (3, Interesting)

LwPhD (1052842) | more than 6 years ago | (#24579045)

It is certainly possible that enough evidence has been collected to nail Ivins. However, the evidence so far produced is far, far from convincing, especially the explanation of the TIGR data. It does seem like they've used a relatively small number of markers to identify the strain. If these markers are SNPs, then there is a fairly non-trivial chance that parallel mutations could cause false positives and that further mutations on the original strain could cause false negatives. And by what criteria did they choose only 4 of the mutations they successfully found? Even if they are less common mutations, there is abundant evidence that mutations of all kinds (duplications, deletions, even inversions) can happen rather frequently. But with no information, we're left wondering.

The interpretation of polymorphism data through ad hoc statistics compounded with arbitrary ascertainment bias could potentially allow the FBI to implicate anyone. If they were malicious (or trying to perform some CYA) they could even choose which markers to use and whatever hand-wavy analyses they wanted to implicate particular strains. Perhaps the research is completely above-board and is rigorous and implicates Ivins beyond a reasonable doubt. I'm very much open to that possibility. However, two things give me pause. First, the sketchy details we have concerning the data render them highly suspect. Specifically, if I'm to take literally everything I've read as being the essence of the most convincing evidence the FBI has, then I'd have to say they don't have a scientific case. (Convincing a credulous jury is another issue. See Simpson, O.J.) Secondly, the way they present the evidence is highly suspect. As one commenter suggested, what does the shoddy description of the details of the case tell us about the FBI's understanding of the relevant issues? As a scientist, I can say that I'm underwhelmed by their ability to communicate basic ideas.

Whether this is the FBI being secretive and leaving out key details or this is just incompetence, I can't tell. In either event, the cloudy picture currently painted in the public sphere is so suspect as to make anyone who knows anything about population variation to hear loud alarm bells regarding this case.

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